STRATEGIC TALENT MANAGEMENT BLOG

Human Resources Vision, Strategy and Execution: We’re with you all the way.

Andy Rice

Andy has played an instrumental role in the success of his clients, working with Fortune 500 companies and other organizations on critical initiatives including integrated talent management strategy and planning, talent management transformation, change management, business process improvement, and technology selection and implementations.

Recently, a meeting planner scheduled a big event with several speakers. The planner worked with a committee to arrive at an agenda and manage a list of planned exhibitors at the event. It was all business. Then, as often is the case, life interrupted.

One of the speakers was known for being strongly opinionated politically and willing to put up a spirited conversation. Between the booking and the actual event, the scheduled personality started broadcasting some opinions on social media that many found antagonistic. At the same time, a few attendees of the event took notice that one of the exhibitors was Trump Hotels.

In last week’s blog, we discussed three examples of poor Performance Management:

  1. Politics for a Bonus: An employee at a high-tech company chose to participate in the most visible project over the most impactful and critical project to improve her standing in a peer manager calibration-based performance management system.
  2. Meeting the Quotas: A salesperson who received a mediocre review for not meeting his cold call targets in spite of far exceeding his revenue targets “gamed the system” to make his cold call numbers look better rather than focusing on revenue.
  3. Going “Above and Beyond”: An energy company relocating two of its plants rewarded the team that was late and over-budget but worked long hours, not the team who worked reasonable hours and finished on-time and on-budget.

Possibly more than any other aspect of managing talent, performance management is deeply entwined with human nature. And, much like human nature, it’s full of pitfalls, and an oversimplified approach might impede, not incent an intended result. In other words, it’s easy to shoot yourself in the foot.

The good news is, if you have a say in talent strategy, you can protect your organization from bad performance management.  It’s about understanding the pitfalls, shifting your perspective and committing to the right strategy.

Consider the pitfalls.

Simplicity.  It’s a tenet embraced in both business and life, but the practicalities of a complicated world can get in the way. In the realm of talent management strategy and technology, I have struggled with this conflict first hand when helping companies manage a complex function or project in the simplest way possible. Yet often the real goal of simplicity gets lost.

I started my career in HR over 17 years ago, and the questions I heard most often at all the HR conferences were “Why don’t I have a seat at the executive table?” and “How can I get the executives to take me seriously?” Well, we’re 17 years on, and in spite of all the best intentions, I still hear these two questions repeatedly. What are we doing wrong?